Friday, 6 April 2018

Spellbinding: Anna Netrebko and Željko Lučić in Verdi's Macbeth - Royal Opera House Live Cinema

Verdi: Macbeth - Anna Netrebko - Royal Opera (Photo Bill Cooper)
Verdi: Macbeth - Anna Netrebko - Royal Opera (Photo Bill Cooper)
Verdi: Macbeth - Željko Lučić, Anna Netrebko - Royal Opera (Photo Bill Cooper)
Željko Lučić, Anna Netrebko
Royal Opera (Photo Bill Cooper)
Verdi Macbeth
Željko Lučić, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Anna Netrebko, 
dir: Phyllida Lloyd/ Daniel Dooner, cond: Antonio Pappano; 
Royal Opera House Live Cinema cast
Reviewed by Anthony Evans on 4 Apr 2018 
Star rating: 4.0 (★★★★)
Anna Netrebko's Lady Macbeth carries a vocal weapon of such authority and menace that it would take a better man than Macbeth to resist

I’m still firmly nailed to the fence when it comes to the debate surrounding cinema relays. The advantages of seeing the New York, Met in London for example are pretty self explanatory, seeing the Royal Opera in Islington less so. But being a mutton-headed sort I managed to miss the booking for one of the most anticipated operas of the season. So, gift horse and mouth – I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to see the Royal Opera House Live Cinema Cast of Verdi's Macbeth at the Vue, Islington on 4 April 2018.

The revival of Phyllida Lloyd’s 2002 production of this opera ‘senza amore’ brought together the considerable musical heft of Željko Lučić and Anna Netrebko as Mr. and Mrs. M, plus Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Banquo, under the baton of Antonio Pappano with spellbinding results.


Verdi: Macbeth - Ildebrando D'Arcangelo - Royal Opera (Photo Bill Cooper)
Ildebrando D'Arcangelo - Royal Opera (Photo Bill Cooper)
The striking and atmospherically lit production was enclosed in a black panelled hell. Splattered with red and gold costumes and slashed with shards of light it looked wonderful on screen. Although, for me the production leant a little too heavily on cliché, it’s bristling energy helped to dispel the worst of my reservations. The sound was crystal clear without being over miked which unexpectedly brought the intensity of the vocals into the cinema.

Lučić’s morally fickle Macbeth gave us an indication of the man he might have been before the canker of his ambition absumed his soul, his elegant lyrical baritone hinting that at any moment he might assert his free will. “I’ll give you courage” is Lady Macbeth’s ferocious call to arms, and a steeliness gradually invaded his tone. If Netrebko’s powerhouse Lady Macbeth had any misgivings she kept them to herself. She carries a vocal weapon of such authority and menace that it would take a better man than Macbeth to resist.

Honestly, you’d be hard pressed to hear this opera better sung, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo’s eloquent Banco , was a man of moral stature, the man that Macbeth could have been; Yusif Eyvazov an elegantly poised Macduff and the haunting “Patria oppressa” was a rare treat and I’m lucky to have caught it at all. That’ll teach me.

Verdi: Macbeth - Željko Lučić - Royal Opera (Photo Bill Cooper)
Željko Lučić
Royal Opera (Photo Bill Cooper)
Verdi: Macbeth
Royal Opera House Live Cinema cast
Vue, Islington
Wednesday 4 April 2018
Macbeth : Željko Lučić
Banquo : Ildebrando D'Arcangelo
Lady Macbeth : Anna Netrebko
Lady-in-Waiting : Francesca Chiejina
Servant : Jonathan Fisher
Duncan : John O'Toole
Malcolm : Konu Kim
Macduff : Yusif Eyvazov
Fleance : Matteo Lorenzo
Assassin : Olle Zetterström
First Apparition : John Morrissey
Second Apparition : Gaius Davey Bartlett
Third Apparition : Edward Hyde
Herald : Jonathan Coad
Doctor : Simon Shibambu
Conductor : Antonio Pappano
Director : Phyllida Lloyd; Revival Director : Daniel Dooner

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  • Mr Handel's Vauxhall Pleasures at the London Handel Festival (★★★★½) - concert review
  • This brand-new production of Verdi’s Falstaff proves how strong the subject-matter is and how highly entertaining the opera (★★★★★) - opera review
  • Planet Hugill’s roving music correspondent, Tony Cooper, reports on Berlin’s Festtage (★★★★) - concert review
  • Humanity, Energy and Poise: Bach's St John Passion at the Holy Week Festival (★★★★½)   - concert review
  • Atmosphere at the expense of text: Wednesday at St John's Holy Week Festival (★★★½) - concert review
  • Challenging the traditional concert format: I chat to pianist Alexandra Dariescu about Nutcrackers, creative entrepreneurs and women composers  - interview
  • A very humane comedy: Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at ENO (★★★★½) - opera review
  • Jolly Good Show! - Charles Court Opera's The Mikado (★★★★)  - opera review
  • The Guardian Angel: voices and violin in concert (★★★★) - concert review
  • Fire and water: Ji Liu  (★★★) - CD review
  • En Francais: Verdi's original Don Carlos in Lyon (★★★★) - Opera review
  • Electronic opera: Roger Doyle's Heresy (★★★) - CD review
  • Moving, thoughtful, thought-provoking - Christoph Prégardien, Julia Kleiter and Julius Drake at Temple Song (★★★★★)  - concert review
  • Exploring her heritage: Rebeca Omordia introduces the Nigerian art music which features on her new CD - Interview
  • Real discoveries: the songs of Nikolai Medtner (★★★★) - CD review
  • The Gluepot Connection - 20th century British composers linked by their watering-hole - CD review
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